August 2022 Challenge: Lower Body (Day 2/Late Week)

Day two of our Lower Body strength should be performed later in the week after a run and if you have a 2nd “effort run” which means any run that requires effort. Hills, speed/intervals, tempo — are all examples of effort workouts. If you only have one effort run each week, then go ahead and complete this workout after that run and save your arms + core Day 2 for after an easy run or on a race from running day.

Weighted Split Squats: Weighted or Unweighted if you find this exercise challenging is different from the Bulgarian Split Squats we do on our Day 1 Lower Body routine as your back leg is not elevated and your weight is evenly distributed on both the front and back legs.

The split squat is a compound leg exercise that works multiple muscles in our lower body, including your hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. With proper form, split squats can increase leg strength and enhance flexibility.

  1. Stand in a split stance with your front heel 2–4 feet in front of your back foot. Raise your back heel to place weight evenly along your toes. The weight on your front foot should be evenly distributed along the entire foot. Grip the floor with your front foot to create a stable foot position. 
  2. Square your hips. Your posture should be tall with your torso upright and feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly. Your shoulders should be over your hips or slightly ahead of your hips with a neutral head and neck position. Your chin should remain tucked throughout the movement, as if you were holding an egg under your chin.
  3. Place your hands on your hips or hold dumbbells by your sides and engage your core. 
  4. Begin the downward movement by bending the hip, knee, and ankle of your front leg and allowing your back knee to bend toward the floor. 
  5. Lower until your front leg is parallel to the floor. Your back knee should be underneath your rear hip, 1–2 inches above the ground. 
  6. Pause at the bottom for 1–2 seconds. 
  7. To begin the upward movement, push your front foot into the ground to initiate standing.
  8. As you stand, keep your chest high, and squeeze your front glute. Allow your front knee to straighten and your hip to travel forward. 
  9. As you finish the movement, squeeze your quadriceps while maintaining a neutral spine and a slightly bent knee. 
  10. At the end of each repetition, your shoulders should finish directly over your hips. Imagine that your pelvis is a bucket filled with water and you’re attempting not to spill any water out of the front, back, or sides of the bucket.

Seated/Weighted Leg Extension: Sitting while concentrating on extending our legs straight out in front of us is an intense workout for our lower extremities as well as for our core. Engage your core deeply to stabilize the lower back and pelvis so your legs are working efficiently.

  1. On a bench or chair, sit with back straight up and hold onto both sides of your platform.
  2. Secure a dumbbell between your lower legs, bringing your knees close together.
  3. Alternate bending and extending your legs keep your upper body still. No swaying. Don’t use momentum to lift the weight.

Straight Leg Fire Hydrant: The Straight Leg Fire Hydrant isolates one leg at a time, similar to running! Fire hydrants, also called quadruped hip abductions, are a type of bodyweight exercise that mainly works the gluteus maximus, but also works our core.

When done regularly, fire hydrants sculpt our glutes, improve back pain, and lower the risk for injury. Adding the straight leg makes it more challenging so if this is too advanced, go to the bent leg fire hydrant and work your way up to being able to straighten out your leg. If the straight leg fire hydrant feels too easy, add ankle weights!

Banded Monster Walks: Banded monster walks involve placing a resistance band just above your knees, going into a small squat and walking sideways. Although the exercise can be performed with or without a resistance band, a banded walk creates more tension throughout the movement which leads to more muscle activation and bigger gains in strength.

Banded Monster Walks work our Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus, Hip Flexors, Inner Thighs and Outer Thighs!

  1. Step into the loop and place one resistance band around your thighs just above your knees. If you want to make this harder you can place a second resistance band around your ankles!
  2. Sit back into a squat position. Activate your core to protect your lower back. Keep good posture, stick your bum out and keep your knees behind your toes throughout the exercise.
  3. Your knees should be at about a 45° angle and maintain that throughout the movement. Squat a little lower as you build strength if you need an extra challenge.
  4. Step your right foot out and sideways ensuring you don’t let your knees turn in and that you keep constant pressure on the resistance band.
  5. Step your left foot out and sideways towards your right foot.
  6. Walk slowly and with purpose. Focus on engaging the glutes throughout the walk.
  7. As you begin to gain strength, take longer steps.
  8. Repeat for 10 steps then go back the other way.
  9. Repeat 10 steps in both directions for at least 3 rounds. If this feels easy or you don’t feel the burn in your booty, add another round or two! At MOTR we do FIVE rounds of 10 each way for a total of 100 Banded Monster Steps!

Fire Hydrant + Push Back: Yep, Fire Hydrants again! Those glutes are fired up already and that’s a good thing! We’re working this same muscles with this next exercise then you are done!

  1. Start balance on your hands and knees
  2. Strongly pull your abs up and into the back and squeeze your obliques.
  3. Lift your right leg out to the side then when you are in this position, kick backwards so it extends out behind you.
  4. Bring your leg straight forward and back into starting position. This is one rep.

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